YWCA observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October

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According to the National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet,1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. These facts should not be ignored. In October, the nation observes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and shines a spotlight on what each of us can do to end intimate partner violence. 
YWCA Central Alabama will observe the month during several events. Its first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Symposium is set for Oct. 3 at The Guiding Light Church, 1800 John Rogers Drive, Birmingham. The agency’s 2nd Annual Walk to End Domestic Violence will be Oct. 17 at 6 p.m., starting at the YWCA office (309 23rd Street North) and ending at Kelly Ingram Park for the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil. A second vigil will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Pell City.
“Our theme for the month is Believe Survivors,” said Dr. LaRhonda S. Magras, CEO of the YWCA Central Alabama since Sept. 1. “Victims are victimized all over again when they aren’t believed. The YW understands quite well that domestic violence can happen to anyone and in many ways.”
Abuse can happen regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, or economic status, and the abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economical or psychological. There is no right way for a victim to react to traumatic abuse. There is no “typical victim.”
“Victims can be members of your family. They could be your friends or co-workers or even community leaders,” Magras explained. “It’s important to believe survivors and to believe each of us can take an action toward combatting this problem – whether it’s calling the YW’s 24-hour crisis hotline, encouraging someone to leave an abusive relationship, wrapping services and resources around a victim, offering counseling or coming forth as a witness.”
This special month is an opportunity to teach people how to recognize patterns of abusive behavior, according to the YW’s Domestic Violence Services professionals. There are several signs to watch for when partners try to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Examples include escalating threats, controlling money, constant insults, and attempts to isolate or otherwise make the victims dependent on them.
YWCA Central Alabama provides emergency shelters for domestic violence victims; manages a 24/7 crisis hotline, 205.322.HURT (4878); and provides court advocacy, legal representation, individual and group counseling for those in need. The agency is the only provider of supervised visitation in Jefferson County, which is often necessary in domestic violence cases.
There is no fee to attend the 9 a.m.-3 p.m. symposium. Speakers include Nathaniel Rutledge, Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Judge Janine Hunt-Hilliard of Jefferson County Family Court; Technology Safety Specialist Audace Garnett of the National Network to End Domestic Violence; Lt. Steve M. Searcy, a specialized law enforcement training instructor; and Domestic Violence Resource Prosecutor Gabrielle Helix of the Office of Prosecution Services.
Bishop Jim Lowe, The Guiding Light Church’s senior pastor will bring greetings. Magras will be on-hand for the occasion. Topics discussed will range from technology’s connection to domestic violence to Alabama’s Protection from Abuse Act and a basic primer on domestic violence. Lunch will be served. CEU/CLE/APOST credits are available. Visit www.ywcabham.org/events to reserve your seat or to view a full list of Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities.
Domestic violence is a crime that should be taken seriously. For help or if you suspect abuse, call the YWCA’s 24-hour crisis line at 205.322.HURT (4878). Find information about teen dating violence at www.ywcabham.org/teen-dating-violence-prevention.
YWCA Central Alabama is a United Way agency dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA provides child development programs for children of homeless and working poor families; safe, affordable housing; a broad array of domestic violence services; and social justice programs. 
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month shines a spotlight on what each of us can do to end intimate partner violence. This year YWCA Central Alabama will host the BELIEVE SURVIVORS campaign during October. The YW will join others across the nation in observing the month. Mark your calendar with these events:

OCTOBER 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 / 9-10 a.m.
YW CHATS: Dynamics of Domestic Violence
YWCA Central Alabama, Ethel Gibson Room
309 23rd St N
Birmingham, AL 35203

OCTOBER 3, 2019 / 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Guiding Light Church
1800 John Rogers Drive
Birmingham, AL 35210

OCTOBER 9, 2019 / 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Debardeleben Park
2nd Ave N
Birmingham, AL 35020
OCTOBER 11, 2019 / 6:30-9 p.m.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
2612 Lane Park Rd
Birmingham, AL 35223
Tickets: $30/person, $50/couple
Reserve tickets by contacting Walter Goss, (205) 207-6097, walter.goss@allstate.com
Proceeds benefit YWCA Central Alabama
OCTOBER 14-18, 2019
To raise awareness and engage action to end the broad spectrum of violence.
View: 2019 Week Without Violence webinar
Resource: List of Week Without Violence Events

OCTOBER 17, 2019 / 5:45-8 p.m.
Walk proceeds from YWCA Central Alabama (309 23rd St N) to Kelly Ingram Park (500 17th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203) for vigil

OCTOBER 19, 2019 / 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Tabernacle of Praise Ministries  
3025 Wood Drive
Birmingham, AL 35215
OCTOBER 19, 2019 / 2 p.m.
South Park Seventh Day Adventist Church            
414 South Park Rd
Birmingham, AL 35211

OCTOBER 20, 2019 / 10-11 a.m.
Rebirth Christian Fellowship
700 23rd Ave NW
Birmingham, AL 35215
OCTOBER 23, 2019 / 6-8 p.m.
Guiding Light Church
1800 John Rodgers Drive
Birmingham, AL 35210

OCTOBER 24, 2019 / 6-7:30 p.m.
St. Clair County Courthouse
1815 Cogswell Ave.
Pell City, AL 35125
Contact: Vernetta Bowman, 205.338.8808 or Ext. 451, vbowman@ywcabham.org

For More Information or a Full List of Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events, Contact:
Knetta Adkins, Domestic Violence Outreach Coordinator
(205) 322-9922

YWCA observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October